In celebration of Black History Month throughout February, we asked members of our Philadelphia community and beyond what Black history means to them…
Saxophonist, Composer, 2019 Jazz Residency Artist, and Kimmel Center Education Alum
“Everyday I’m thankful to be playing this American Classical Music. As a community, we are standing on the shoulders of these profound artists that came before us. Everything we create as Black Artists is Black History — we weave the fabric. I am honored to be in the company of my heroes.”
Deirdre Childress Hopkins
Director of Public Relations, VISIT PHILADELPHIA
"My father, a physicist, and my mother, who earned her doctorate at UPenn, placed tremendous emphasis on education. As the first African American President of Philadelphia’s premier PR association, it is my lifelong goal to support stronger communication among our region’s diverse populations. I’m delighted to share the untold stories of a place that love and welcomes everyone."
President, Jazz Philadelphia
"Black history is a river overflowing with the contributions of everyday people. I think of my father, who poured into this river with generosity and kindness; he inspires me to serve my community through Jazz Philadelphia."
Musician, Singer/Songwriter, 2018 Theater Resident
"Black History Month is a time to deeply engage with the mighty contributions of my people who have been faced with unbelievably inhumane obstacles and yet continue to achieve and shape the history of the United States. Whether I am learning for the first time about unsung heroes or rereading passages from well-known literary giants, Black History Month for me is about education, celebration, and rejuvenation."
Acting Associate Principal Bass, The Philadelphia Orchestra
"Music is a gift; to play it is a privilege; to perform it, a passion; to live it, a calling; to share it, a blessing."
Cheryl “Cappuchino” Hayden
Midday Personality, WUSL Power 99
"When I think of Black History Month, I think of how my ancestors have paved the way for me and I think of the opportunities we were or weren't given. But one big opportunity I think of is the education we built for ourselves with our Historically Black Colleges and Universities and being a product of an HBCU, I am black history!"
News Anchor, 6ABC
"As a father of an African American teenager, it’s become increasingly important for me to remind him of his heritage, and the sacrifices others made so that he can vote (next year) or attend a good college (this year). We all stand on the shoulders of giants like Booker T. Washington, Mary Mcleod Bethune and MLK, and February allows us to bring our past more clearly into focus, for me-- and my son."
Joan Myers Brown
Founder of PHILADANCO!
"As PHILADANCO moves into its 50th anniversary year and marks the 60th anniversary year of my school, we look ahead to the future of Black dance, but also reflect on the past – to a time when there were little-to-no opportunities for Black dancers to work in professional companies in Philadelphia. I founded PHILADANCO to create that opportunity, a space where dancers could train and move on to larger opportunities in New York and elsewhere."
Singer and Icon
"My life was changed in one breath from God."
Terrance L. Patterson
Executive and Artistic Director, Ritz Chamber Players
“Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing!” Black History Month for me is more than just a time to be prideful of our Black heritage. Black History Month is a time we can all celebrate African-American history, culture, music and the many contributions African-Americans have made to our country. It is a time to become aware of what it took for the African-American to reach this point and for us to look forward, with great anticipation, to our further continuous growth. “Let us march on till victory is won!”
Politician, educator, and author
"If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair."